Ramsar secretariat demands environment ministry preserve sea of Henoko

November 1, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 29, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat submitted a document to the Ministry of the Environment stating that the government should take action based on the environmental impact assessment for the Oura Bay and offshore Henoko, Nago. This area is the site where the government plans to relocate U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma and is currently carrying out the construction. According to environmental experts, this is the first time the secretariat has asked the government to secure conservation measures for the area off the coast of Henoko.

The area is a candidate for Ramsar designation and is designated one of Japan’s important wetlands. The secretariat has researched the conservation status of domestic important wetlands in addition to the List of Wetlands of International Importance (The Ramsar List). This document is one of their efforts to preserve important wetlands.

In the document sent to the government on October 29, the secretariat pointed out that the area off the coast of Henoko was an important wetland, where seaweed that provides a rare dugong species’ food grows, and new species have been found. The secretariat asked the following questions to the government: 1. Did the government carry out an environmental impact assessment for Henoko area? 2. Does the government have a plan to reduce the environmental impact? 3. Is there any plan to restore the ecosystem of the land and coastal areas that would be damaged in the construction and the base operation?

(English translation by T&CT)

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